Ten British Bands You’re Probably Not Listening To (But Should)

photo by jess speechley

   We might not be in the era of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and the Who, but Great Britain is still producing some of the best artists out there.  It’s hard to say that there is a new “British Invasion” because quite a few of these bands have yet to gain popularity in the States, but that doesn’t mean that small amounts of recognition are insignificant. So if you are looking for some new songs to jam to, you’re in the right place.

htthhtrthr Here is a Spotify sampler playlist of some of the songs mentioned, or use the QR code if you’d rather have the playlist on your phone.

Wolf Alice

   Wolf Alice somehow manages to create mellow and delicate songs that want to make you cry because they remind you of a past lover, while simultaneously making punchy-punk tunes that bring out your inner rebel. Their goofy music videos show that they don’t take themselves too seriously, like sticking themselves in the middle of a horror movie, or a trippy magical land with picnics and talking trees. You can find front girl, Ellie Rowsell, explosively strumming on her Fender Telecaster guitar while showing off her impressive vocal range, and displaying confident lyrics like, “You can hate us all you want, but it don’t mean nothing at all.”  With such a diverse repertoire of songs, there surely is something out there for everyone, making them pretty hard to hate. 

Try: Beautifully Unconventional,  Swallowtail, Giant Peach, You’re a Germ, & Heavenly Creatures

Peace

   Establishing themselves in 2009, Peace is a quartet consisting of Harry and Sam Koisser, Doug Castle, and Dominic Boyce. After signing with Columbia Records in 2012, they currently have two albums and one EP (extended play, a.k.a, a short album) to enjoy. With both melodic and indie rock style songs, they have a relatively diverse setlist. Their first album, In Love, went to number 16 in the UK charts in 2013, and their second album, Happy People, went to number 12 in 2015. Personally, my favorite song by them is California Daze, which shockingly never hit the charts, given that it is such a breath of fresh air from typical mainstream music.

Try: California Daze, 1998, Bloodshake, Happy People, & Blue

The 1975

   Once upon a time, there were four mates in school who decided to start a band in 2003. They would struggle to find their sound and even keep a permanent band name – which they changed almost on a nightly basis – and ultimately failed to score a record deal. Nine years later, they started to gain attention as The 1975. Initially releasing four EPs (and eventually getting a song on the FIFA 14 soundtrack), they had developed a primarily British audience, but still garnered attention internationally. For the most part, everyone knew them for their song Chocolate back in 2013. Frontman, Matty Healy, writes all of the lyrics, which undoubtedly come from the heart; expressing his battle with drug abuse, heartbreak, mental health, and even his grandmother’s death. Now with four EPs, two albums and a third one in the works, they have a lot on their resume. They’re easily the most well-known band on this list, but any band that can write, compose, and produce their own music deserves as much recognition as possible. With that being said, I’m gonna stick to recommending the songs that were never popular in the US.

Try: Settle Down, Undo, Menswear, Fallingforyou, Woman, & Heart Out

The Japanese House

   Surprise! This actually isn’t a band, but instead, a female solo artist. Amber Bain is a one woman show with her music, writing and creating her own songs. The only help she gets is from friends who aid her with live shows (understandably so; it’s pretty challenging to play the drums, keyboard, guitar, and do vocals all by yourself), and Matty Healy and George Daniel of The 1975 to assist with producing. Making very unique, enjoyable electronic-pop songs, it’s quite difficult to get bored with her four EPs.

Try: Clean, Sister, Good Side In, Cool Blue, & Saw You in a Dream

Swim Deep

   If you enjoy the more pop-rock songs of the 80’s, Swim Deep might be a good fit for you. Whilst shuffling through multiple drummers to find their man, original member, Wolfgang Harte left. They ended up getting a new member (Cavan McCarthy) from another band on this list: Peace. Originating in Birmingham, England, this group does not shy away from heavy synth, velvet-smooth guitar riffs, and soothing vocals to blast you into a different era. Play some of their tunes during a late night drive with the windows down if you want to feel like a lead character in a John Hughes movie.

Try: Honey, King City, Soul Trippin, & The Sea

Superfood

   Easily being the most unique band on this list, they immediately got nominated for “Best New Band” by NME Magazine, which means they must be doing something right. With their LP (a.k.a, a full length album) “Bambino” released on September 8th, 2017, they have very fresh content to fancy. Containing smooth and groovy beats, and slightly odd sounds and occasional dialogue to accompany it, this band might suit those who like Glass Animals and Foster the People.

Try: Raindance, I Can’t See, Bubbles, & Shadow

Circa Waves

   Hailing from Liverpool with a sound that is evocative to The Strokes, Circa Waves is an alt-rock-oriented band that is doing the genre well. Using hefty amounts of guitar and acoustic drums, the second single from this four man band, Stuck In My Teeth, was Zane Lowe’s (of BBC Radio) Hottest Record in the World. With album number three on its way, lead singer Kieran Shuddall was quoted by Dork Magazine saying, “I’m scared how good it is… Maybe Drake can support us one day.”

Try: Wake Up, T-Shirt Weather, Stuck, & Deserve This

Only Real

   With only 47,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, Only Real is the smallest person on this list, and is not signed to a record label. Niall Galvin currently has two EPs and a full-length album that sounds like a hybrid of the Beach Boys and Mac Demarco with loose rap verses. If that seems like something that you could dig, sample some of these songs that I believe exemplify that description.

Try: Cadillac Girl, Get it On, Punks and Potions, & When This Begins

Pale Waves

     Being the newest band on this list, Pale Waves currently has only two songs on their Spotify, and a few unreleased ones on YouTube, but their future seems very promising. Maintaining a consistent alternative pop-rock sound with Heather Baron-Gracie’s high pitched vocals, they provide music that makes you want to dance, but is also chill enough just to float around in a pool to. Don’t let their goth appearance deter you from their surprisingly upbeat songs that are reminiscent of The Cure.

Try: There’s a Honey, Television Romance, Heavenly, & The Tide

Astronomyy

   If you like Ed Sheeran, Astronomyy might be your new muse. Many of his songs are mainly R&B-based with a lot of atmospheric pop vibes, but carry quite a peaceful and laid back ambiance. One cool thing about him is that he is very active on Genius.com, a community-based website used for confirming and analyzing lyrics, in which he points out the meanings behind some of his lyrics so you don’t need to guess. In general, he is quite active on social media.

Try: Don’t Need U, Hypnotized, Everythin’ On My Mind, & Nothin’ On My Mind